“Just Jump, Natashinka.” The hurdles coach was Russian and I loved the way he pronounced my name.
For a brief time I believed his faith in me could propel me over the hurdles. But I was terrified. I could run quickly up to the hurdle but I would come to a stop before jumping over.
The hurdles at the lowest level were still taller than my legs. I couldn’t figure out how to will my entire body over them.
So I moved on to long jump. I could barely make the dirt pit.
No cross country, no sprinting, no hurdles, no long jump.
Being black didn’t help at all.